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humidity in basement

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Steven Steigerwald, Jul 24, 2014.

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  1. Steven Steigerwald

    Steven Steigerwald

    Jul 24, 2014
    I have a lot of electronics in the basement.
    1.What can you to protect them from humidity.
    2. What is the max humidity level in the basement for storage if I do nothing else.
  2. Anon_LG


    Jun 24, 2014
    Lots of electronics in the basement! Great!

    As for the maximum safe humidity level for storage in the basement, I do not really know. But 2 steps you could try are:

    1. Use silica gel packets in the boxes you keep your electronics in
    2. Get a dehumidifier, which one and what quality of dehumidifier depends on the size of your basement.

    I hope that this helps (you probably knew this already but worth a try)
  3. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    I lived in Michigan for a lot of years. The summertime humidity in the basement was brutal. Water dripping from the pipes constantly.
    It's one more appliance that adds to your electric bill, but I went out and bought a 'dehumidifier' from the local home appliance store.
    Darned thing collected about 3 quarts of water during a 24-hour period (so have a way to drain the collector bin), but it solved my humidity problem
    while giving me a fan for the basement. Only had to run it a few months of the year.
  4. DoubleDogDan


    Jul 20, 2014
    Agreed about the dehumidifiers. Lived in Ohio for years, the basement scenario was just like shrtnd described. In my case, the tank on the dehumidifier had a place for a hose to be connected, which I did, running the line to a nearby floor drain, so I didn't have to screw with emptying the tank incessantly. Keep in mind though that a dehumidifier is basically a small refrigeration unit. They use a fair bit of current, and while one coil (evaporator) gets cold (to condense/remove the water from the air) the opposite coil (condenser) gets hot, and efficiencies being what they are with machines, there is a net heat output which you will notice. So glad to be living someplace where humidity isn't really an issue.
  5. Steven Steigerwald

    Steven Steigerwald

    Jul 24, 2014
  6. Steve Steigerwald

    Steve Steigerwald

    Jul 25, 2014
    I think I will move them upstairs
  7. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    Depending on the components, humidity per se may not be an issue.

    The exceptions are
    • Components that are fundamentally damaged by some level of humidity
    • Surface mount components
    • where conditions are such that mould can grow
    Leafs on components will oxidize more rapidly in a humid environment. Leads which are silver plated will fare badly. Aside from this, non-condensing humidity is generally fine, especially if no power is applied (as it isn't for parts).

    Surface mount components are really not that much different to normal components, but when you place them in a reflow oven any water in them can flash to steam and do the popcorn thing with the part. This is probably less of an issue if you hand solder parts.

    Incidentally, smd parts can be baked to get rid of excess moisture. It essentially involves placing them in a warm oven for some period of time.

    Obviously, growing mould on your parts is bad.
  8. guitar1580


    Jul 22, 2014
    I've used a dehumidifier in the basement for years, decades, actually. It has a variable adjustment to make it run more or less, depending on the weather outside. I empty the tank every day, because I'm down there every day. If you forget, it has a cutoff switch which shuts it off when the tank is full.
    A hygrometer to measure your RH is relatively cheap. As a general rule of thumb, 50% +/- 5 to 10 percent is a good range to stay in, and is comfortable for humans.
    As a guitarist, expensive guitars made of solid wood, rather than laminates, need to be in that range also. In winter, when forced air heat is used a lot, RH will start to drop below 40, and even much lower in some parts of the country. At that point, people notice their sinuses drying out, and feel a little discomfort. Guitars at that point need to have a humidifier put into the case and kept closed to keep the wood from shrinking and cracking. Very high humidity can loosen glue joints on the same guitars. So all and all, 50% is a comfortable range for humans & delicate wood, and should pretty much keep electrical componets from getting too damp, and corroding.
  9. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    At low humidity (say 30% and below) you start to need to be more stringent on ESD protection measures for ESD sensitive parts.

    There are issues at both high and low humidity.
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